Source of Pride
I am writing this because I would like to share my opinion of an aspect of Dulaney High School that has gone unnoticed.
Many people look at the strong athletics, student government and academics that engender pride in Dulaney and its students. This is all well and good, but there is another source of pride that I feel should be shown.
For the first time, inclusion students have been mainstreamed into Dulaney High School. Many people have different views about this. I think it is wonderful.
I am a peer assistant to a boy named Matthew. Every day during second period, I help him in his art class. This is definitely the highlight of my day. I and many other students are learning a lot from the inclusion students.
These students are extremely eager to learn, cooperative and talented. They are very happy with themselves and grateful for the opportunity to attend Dulaney.
I have learned a lot about myself from these students. I have been taught how to be happy with little things and how to work hard at something even when it seems beyond my reach.
Most of all, I have made a great friend in Matthew and in the other students as well.
So now, when someone asks me what I like best about Dulaney, I tell them my second period art class.
With continuing amusement, I have been reading the recent articles and editorials encouraging various candidates to consider the race for governor in 1994.
The implied message is, apparently, that The Sun is unaware of, or unimpressed with, those who have already made their intentions known. I find this surprising, if true.
Among the candidates already in the race is the very qualified lieutenant governor, Melvin A. Steinberg.
As a long-time resident of Baltimore County and an admirer of Mr. Steinberg, I am disturbed that The Sun believes it necessary to look elsewhere for a candidate.
In fact, I recall numerous editorials and articles in The Sun over the past 10 years praising Mr. Steinberg's leadership.
In my estimation, no one is more experienced, talented or informed on the issues than Mr. Steinberg. He led the state with great skill as Senate president; he was in charge of a very successful legislative agenda during his first term as lieutenant governor.
The recent falling out with Gov. William Donald Schaefer for opposing the administration's $800 million tax package is further testimony to his good judgment and independence.
How about providing your readers with fair and objective coverage of Mr. Steinberg?
Lindsay D. Dryden III
Road to Riches?
NAFTA -- do we really hafta?
Sure, President Clinton can line up a bunch of economists who will promise that the North American Free Trade Agreement will eventually lead to prosperity for all Americans, but do you really want to bet your job that they're right?
Who knows, these may be the same economists who told Ronald Reagan that he could cut taxes, increase military spending and still balance the budget by 1984.
You do not need to have a Ph.D in economics to know what is happening to this country. You are reminded every time you buy what you think is an old familiar American brand name product only to find "Tailored in Sri Lanka," "Assembled in Malaysia" or "Made in China" stamped on the back.
Do we really think that we can dismantle our entire industrial base and still maintain our prosperity by exporting "Beavis and Butt-head" re-runs down that "electronic superhighway" to Mexico?
We had better get our act together before we became just another Third World country.
People like me voted for Bill Clinton because we wanted change. Instead we got the same tired, worn-out programs, personalities and policies left over from the Bush administration.
Apparently the blitzkrieg of B-26 ("Flying Coffin") bombers has begun.
With four stations providing Desert Storm-type coverage of the National Football League owners' vote, one would think that something momentous was happening in Baltimore. Now how are the people that count affected by this tremendous event?
Peter Jay seems to be the only person with his head screwed on correctly with his Oct. 27 column.
I realize that there is little of value left in Baltimore, but certainly adding a National Football League team can be the height of achievement.
Perhaps if Charm City, alias "The City That Reads," spent a little more time and effort worrying about education it wouldn't be having to resort to tourism to support it.
Maybe the city wouldn't have 200,000-plus functional illiterates. I would think that $140 million could be better spent in Baltimore.
What would H.L. Mencken have to say about all this folderol?
R. D. Bush
On contemplating the Gallimaufry item on driving habits (Oct. 23), I note that there seems to be an increasing incidence of the average citizen's failure to heed the letter of the law in his driving habits.
Reasons for these infractions that I could come up with: a callous disregard of common habits of courtesy, impatience and a disregard for one's own safety. Or otherwise put -- an unconscious death wish.
How else can one understand why drivers will exceed the speed limit by as much as 20 miles an hour, fail to stop at stop signs, fail to yield to oncoming traffic when entering an interstate highway, fail to prepare to stop on the yellow caution light or even a red light, fail to comprehend what distance is required to stop a vehicle when it is obvious that they are "tailgating."
The list of driving infractions could go on and on. Who are these drivers? "They is us!"
Otto C. Beyer
Come Out of the Closet, Virgins
It has been a great joy for me to read the article by Tanya Barrientos ("Pure and Proud," Oct. 24).
My wife and I are part of the group that lived during the '70s and remained virgins until we were married. We dated for eight years and now have been married for 15 years. Our commitment to stay virgins came from our love of God. We were ridiculed and still are ridiculed by our peers for believing in virginity until marriage and for believing in chastity.
We know it is not easy but can be done and is the best safe sex anyone can have. It is time for all those who are virgins, whether it be primary virginity or secondary virginity, to come out of the closet and start teaching others that this is the best way to be.
During our honeymoon, we did not need any special movies, books or magazines to teach us what to do or how to do it.
I am sure that no amount of experience would have made our honeymoon any better or stronger than it was. It was full of innocence, laughter, joy, peace, understanding, curiosity and love.
I feel angry at the hypocrisy our society projects to our young and teen-agers. We, the children of the '60s and '70s, do not want to admit that our so-called sexual revolution has been a complete failure.
We do not want to admit that the moral values of our parents and ancestors did more to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, child abuse, mental and physical abuse of women, unwanted abuse be it of elderly, babies, children or handicapped, by teaching respect for their bodies than what we have achieved by the sexual revolution.
The sexual revolution increased infidelity, divorce, abortion, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, crime, sexual assault, single parenting, self-centeredness and immediate satisfaction. . . .
I find it ironic that our new surgeon general is so convinced that television needs to decrease the amount of violence because of its negative impact on society but, at the same time, does not believe that we need to stop hyper-stimulating our society and children's sexual impulses.
The violent hyper-stimulation of our society in the media does as much harm as the sexual hyper-stimulation. This is the mental abuse under which most of our children are being raised.
This is done by soap operas, movies and magazines, and public school systems promoting condom distribution and so-called safe sex. The best safe sex is the one you do not have. This is why teaching your kids "virgin" is not a dirty word is so welcome. If something as dumb as lying on a freeway in the movie stimulates irrational behavior by our teen-agers, how can we as adults believe that the sexually stimulating movies, magazines and television programs are not doing the same?
It is the adult society, film makers, writers, executives and those in control who have pushed us where we are. . . .
Ivan H. Garcia, M.D.
Teen Drinking at Home is Wrong Answer
Tim Baker's recent column entitled "Don't Worry, Dad" (Nov. 1) gave a very dangerous and irresponsible message about how parents can handle the problem of underage drinking.
Mr. Baker, like many other misguided parents today, feels it's OK for our teen-agers to drink just as long as they don't drive.
This is a very naive position which will surely create greater problems among our youth.
Risky sexual behavior, crime, violence, suicide and bad grades are just a few of the other alcohol-related problems that many parents don't consider when they condone underage drinking.
Research has found that alcohol is associated with more than 37 percent of the robberies and more than 27 percent of the murders committed by juveniles.
Seventy percent of those youths who attempt suicide are frequent alcohol users, and twice as many students who are binge drinkers have grades of "C" or lower.
Add to these sobering facts that 50 percent of those 16-to-19-year-olds surveyed were more likely to have sex if they and their partners had been drinking.
Also, 17 percent said they were less likely to use a condom when drinking.
Alcohol is the most used and abused drug by our young people, and this drug has an almost immediate effect on a young person's judgment.
So, while alcohol may not make all teens raging maniacs, it will surely impact their ability to communicate and understand already confusing sexual signals.
Parents, like the rest of our community, have a responsibility to set standards for what is acceptable behavior and what is not by our youth.
We cannot expect to reduce the incidence of teen-age alcoholism, teen-age violence and teen-age pregnancy unless all of us provide our youth with clear moral guidelines.
Alcohol is a dangerous and addictive drug which is illegal for those under the age of 21. It's also bad for their health.
Please, parents, just say to your child, "No alcohol until you're 21," and if you as a parent choose to drink, please drink responsibly.
Michael M. Gimbel
The writer is director of Baltimore County's Office of Substance Abuse
There are many lessons for teen-agers to learn from Tim Baker's column.
The first and most obvious is how real and gut-wrenching the worry is associated with drinking and driving.
However, the other lessons come from his solution -- to buy the beer and allow his children and their friends (some of whom are underage) to drink in the "safety" of his home.
These lessons are:
* In a difficult situation, stop attempting to do the right thing, and go for the easy answer.
Better to create a situation that is inappropriate and illegal than to deal with a tough issue and stick with it.
* Drinking is a valuable and necessary activity, and individuals are incapable of controlling or abstaining from it.
* Break the law and disregard the wishes and rights of other parents in order to provide for the worry-free comfort of one parent.
* Better to produce a child who is indulged, at best, or a drunk, at worst, then to have to set a rule and stick by it.
Mr. Baker really needs to understand that these are lessons most of us would prefer our children to never learn.
No parent enjoys the turmoil of waiting up for a teen-ager to return home or contemplating what results drinking and driving may produce.
But the only legitimate way of dealing with these issues is to meet them firmly and unflinchingly, with a set of consequences and rewards for actions on the part of the teen- ager, and a clear understanding of what the contract is between parent and child.
Out of fear, Mr. Baker has allowed himself to believe that by permitting his children to drink in his home he is in control of their drinking, and nothing could be further from the truth.
They will continue to drink -- at football games, proms, dances, in cars, at parties and every other possible social situation. And why shouldn't they, as long as Dad reinforces the idea that drinking is an activity both necessary and unstoppable?
And of course Dad would never allow them to do anything that would hurt them, right?
Cathy M. Sidlowski
After reading Tim Baker's article on worrying about his children's drinking, I cannot agree with or would not even consider his alternative choices to keep the "party" at his home.
He is definitely sending the wrong signals to his children as well as their friends.
It seems he has taken the "easiest way out" of a problem situation for his 19- and 22-year-old children. By letting them "drink it all at his place" and having them "all spend the night" sounds too good to be true to his children and their friends.
Mr. Baker should stop himself, stop his children and stop their friends from pulling the wool over his eyes to the real problem he is facing.
He should tell them "no" they shouldn't be illegally drinking, "no" to their drinking and driving and "no" I won't buy your booze and keep you all overnight.
As a parent of two teen-agers, I am constantly going to battle on these similar issues, and I have seen too many liberal parents of junior-high, high school and college kids wondering every day about "where did I go wrong as a parent?"
It's not too late for Mr. Baker to rethink and change his new rules. He just might sleep better knowing he tried to teach his children what's best for them. The rest is all up to them.
New Commute Plan Is Fair
The Employee Commute Option (ECO) regulations proposed by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are not the burdensome beasts that the press and many employers and their corporate legal staff have made them out to be.
There needs to be a holistic approach to ECO. Employers are looking only at their individual situations such as whether they are urban or suburban, what kind of access they have to mass transportation, and the demographics of their work force.
The ECO regulation mandated by the federal Clean Air Act is an attempt to alter employees' behavior in how they commute to and from work. The goal is to reduce ozone pollution (Baltimore is one of the nation's 10 worst ozone-polluted cities) by reducing the number of vehicles and vehicle miles.
Under the newest revision of ECO, employers will be required to provide information and offer incentives or disincentives to alter the traditional one-person-per-vehicle commuting habit, and to increase the average passenger occupancy by .35 persons per vehicle.
Many employers will be able to reach this goal after developing a Trip Reduction Plan (TRP). However, a few may not be able to reach that goal even after developing and implementing a TRP.
For this reason, a good faith effort has been included in the regulations. The ECO regulation identifies a good faith effort on the part of the employer as registering with the MDE, completing a work site survey and developing a TRP.
The TRP should include, at a minimum, a ride-matching service for work site employees; information on available mass transit options for work site employees; and for work sites at which employer controlled parking is provided, a policy which provides preferential parking to ride-sharing employees or an equally effective trip reduction measure.
If an urban employer already provides these services and cannot increase the APO by .35, the good faith effort provision becomes effective. MDE secretary David Carroll summed it up in a recent article in the Baltimore Business Journal.
"We are trying to define the good faith effort in a way that it encourages businesses to put together a plan that will work without the extremes of audits," he wrote. "If they are doing everything they can, and the employees still say, 'Forget it,' are we going to hit them with a hammer? No!"
Clean air is something that everyone is for, until we have to do something about it that might cause inconvenience. The irony is that a little inconvenience will be more than offset by the positive aspects of employers developing a TRP. The TRPs will help clean the air so we, our children and future generations can breath easy and enjoy a healthy quality of life.
Participating in a ride-share program can reduce stress and traffic congestion and provide an economic savings. Use of mass transit can do all the above plus reduce wear, tear, gas and parking expenses associated with your car.
Administrative policies such as the consolidated work week can provide employees with more quality time with family or friends.
The number of program options that can be developed is limited only by the innovativeness of the employer and his or her work force.
Each TRP will have to be tailored to the unique characteristics of each workplace. Employers can market the TRP as an employee benefit and promote the advantages of programs such as ride-sharing or mass transit options.
New employees could be encouraged to relocate to areas where mass transit, ride-share or van-pool programs exist.
After the transition phase, employers will see programs grow as the work force begins to adapt to the changes.
It is time to live up to the moral obligation to do what we can to conserve energy and protect the environment. If each of us does a little bit, there will be no great economic burden put on any one group.
The current proposed regulations provide the vehicle for all large employers to participate in ECO without the burden falling on any particular group. I am a parking and commuter service professional who will have to develop and implement a TRP for a major public employer. For the reasons that have been stated, I have taken a positive perspective on ECO. It is time to move on and pass the ECO regulations.
Greg W. Sylvester